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Ontario International Airport (ONT)
Ontario International Airport (ONT)

 

LA/Ontario International Airport (IATA: ONT, ICAO: KONT, FAA LID: ONT), formerly Ontario International Airport, is a public airport located 2 NM (3.7 km; 2.3 mi) east of the central business district (CBD) of Ontario, a city in San Bernardino County, California, USA. This airport is owned and operated by the Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), an agency of the city of Los Angeles. In 2008, 6.2 million passengers used the airport, a decline of 13.5% compared to 2007. The April 2011 passenger volume was down 4.6% than the year previous.

In early 2011, Southwest Airlines was responsible for 54% of the passenger volume at the airport.

 

History

The airport was originally built by one of the first flying clubs in southern California, The Friends of Ontario Airport, and dates back to 1923, when a landing field was established east of Central Avenue (three miles west of the current airport) on land leased from the Union Pacific Railroad. The airfield was named Latimer Field in honor of an orange-packing company located next to the airstrip. In 1929 the city of Ontario purchased a 30-acre (12 ha) tract in the southwest corner of the present airport for $12,000 and established Ontario Municipal Airport.

In 1941 the city purchased 470 acres (190 ha) surrounding the airport and approved construction of new runways, which were completed by 1942. On February 27, an Army Air Corps plane made the first landing. By 1943, during World War II, the airport was earmarked as an Army Air Corps P-38 training base and P-59 operating base.

In 1946, Ontario Municipal Airport was renamed "Ontario International Airport" because of transpacific cargo flights originating from the facility. Western Airlines began scheduled passenger flights about 1950, and Bonanza arrived in 1955, but nonstop flights did not reach beyond Las Vegas. In 1962 Western began a nonstop to San Francisco (one Electra daily) and Bonanza began nonstop F27s to Phoenix in 1967; jets arrived in 1968. In 1969 Continental started 720B nonstops to Denver and Chicago, Air California started 737s to San Jose, and PSA started San Francisco; Western began 737 nonstops to Sacramento and Salt Lake City. In 1970 United started a nonstop to Chicago and American started Dallas (and Chicago, for a short time).

In 1967, the city of Ontario and the city of Los Angeles entered into a joint powers agreement, making Ontario International Airport a part of the Los Angeles regional airports system. In 1974, Ontario was the only Riverside-San Bernardino Area airport to host the Concorde supersonic aircraft as it made its promotional around-the-world flights in October of that year.

In 1981, a new, second east-to-west runway, 26L/8R, was built, necessitating the removal of the old northeast-to-southwest runway, 4/22. Remnants of the former 4/22 runway are still visible in the present-day taxiways. With the completion of the new east-to-west runway, the existing Runway 25/7 was renamed to 26R/8L.

In 1985, the city of Los Angeles acquired Ontario International Airport outright from the city of Ontario.

In 1987, Runway 26R/8L was extended to the east so the runway's thresholds could be corresponding to runway 26L/8R thresholds in order for aircraft to fly higher over neighborhoods. This also made 26R/8L the main departing runway and 26L/8R the main arrival runway.

In 1998, the airport's new terminal complex opened.

In 2005-2006, Runway 26R/8L was repaved, received storm drains, strengthened, and improved runway lighting including centerline lights were added. Taxiways D, S, R, U, and W were widened, and better taxiways and runway outlines were also added. Aeroméxico started seasonal flights to Guadalajara and Mexico City, the only international flights to Ontario.

In 2006, Ontario International Airport became LA/Ontario International Airport. The "LA" portion was added to make Ontario Airport geographically relevant to Los Angeles and to avoid confusion with the province of Ontario in Canada.

In 2007, Southwest Airlines who carried 49.38% of passengers. The other four airlines in the top five were United Airlines/United Express (8.64%), Delta Air Lines (7.93%), US Airways (7.08%), and American Airlines (6.18%).

UPS uses the airport as their gateway for packages to and from Southern California. Expressjet formerly operated a hub at the airport.






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